What Now?! – 10/20/2020

Donald Trump complained to his campaign staff about Dr. Anthony Fauci, including him among people he considers “idiots,” but said he couldn’t fire him because of public perception, Bloomberg reports. Said Trump: “People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.” He added: “Anytime he goes on television” there’s a “bomb,” noting that if he fired Fauci it would be a “bigger bomb.”

Trump doubles-down to attack Fauci on Twitter: “Dr. Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television, and yet I saw him last night on 60 Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope. All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said “no masks & let China in.” Also, Bad arm!”

Then he went off at an Arizona event today: “They are getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. ‘Covid, Covid, Pandemic, Covid, Covid.’ You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes he was “absolutely not” surprised that President Trump got sick with coronavirus after seeing him at what “turned out to be a super-spreader event” at the White House.

President Trump said that a reporter asking him a question is “a criminal for not reporting” on the Hunter Biden smear story.

Heck of a closing message from the President, whom staffers and advisers were hoping would be calmer this week ahead of the debate.

“Federal prosecutors unsealed charges against six Russian intelligence officers accused of engaging in widespread and destructive cyberattacks, including operations that allegedly knocked Ukraine’s energy grid offline, interfered in the presidential elections in France and damaged computer systems world-wide in the costly 2017 NotPetya attack,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it,” the New York Times reports.

“Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility.”

The FBI is investigating the purloined laptop materials from Joe Biden’s son as part of a possible foreign disinformation operation, a congressional source told The Daily Beast—an investigation at odds with a statement from President Trump’s director of national intelligence.

John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, told Fox Business that the dissemination of materials from Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

“Fox News was first approached by Rudy Giuliani to report on a tranche of files alleged to have come from Hunter Biden’s unclaimed laptop left at a Delaware computer repair shop, but that the news division chose not to run the story unless or until the sourcing and veracity of the emails could be properly vetted,” Mediaite reports.

Goldman Sachs told clients that a Democratic “blue wave” in November could unleash the fiscal floodgates and fuel the amount of stimulus flowing from Washington, CNBC reports.

Wrote chief economist Jan Hatzius: “A congressional Democratic majority would likely result in substantially more fiscal support. We expect that spending would increase the most under a Democratic sweep of the House, Senate and White House.”

Goldman also reiterated its finding that the boost to U.S. economic growth would “outweigh the negative effects of tax increases.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has given the White House a 48-hour deadline to reconcile differences in stimulus negotiations “to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement,” Axios reports.

With just over two weeks until the presidential election, a decision on whether to further delay handing over President Trump’s financial records to New York prosecutors now rests with the Supreme Court after Trump’s attorneys argued for a stay of the “unprecedented” document request, CNN reports.

Further, “the Supreme Court on Monday said it would take up two challenges to President Trump’s immigration initiatives, his diversion of military funds to pay for construction of the southern border wall, and a policy that has required tens of thousands of asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed,” the Washington Post reports

“The Trump administration had asked the court to intervene in both because of decisions against it in lower courts.”

Reuters: “Unless Congress and the Trump administration move past their deadlock over the contours of a new COVID-19 relief package and include financial relief for tenants and landlords, January will bring a surge in displacement and homelessness ‘unlike anything we have ever seen.’”

Politico: “Commercial real estate is in trouble, and turbulence in the $15 trillion market is threatening to bleed over into the broader financial system just as the U.S. struggles to emerge from a recession.”

“The longer the pandemic paralyzes hotels, retailers and office buildings, the more difficult it is for property owners to meet their mortgage payments — raising the specter of widespread downgrades, defaults and eventual foreclosures. As companies like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 file for bankruptcy, retail properties are losing major tenants with no clear plan to replace them, while hotels are running below 50 percent occupancy.”

Playbook: “If you’re looking for an October surprise, a surge of coronavirus cases overlapping with key swing states, as the White House abandons expert guidance and allows the virus to spread, is about as bad as it gets for Trump — and public health.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned that the current wave of new coronavirus infections is likely to be the “biggest wave” the nation experiences before a vaccine, CBS News reports.

Said Gottlieb: “We’re going to have to endure this wave of spread right now. And it’s probably likely to be the biggest wave that we endure without the benefit of a vaccinated population.”

The Verge: “In 2017, President Donald Trump and the Wisconsin GOP struck a deal with Foxconn that promised to turn Southeastern Wisconsin into a tech manufacturing powerhouse.”

“In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs.”

“Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will.”

Daily Beast: “Two individuals who have spoken to Trump say the president has expressed suspicion that members of his own party believe he will be defeated by Joe Biden. That sense of paranoia has been fed by the president’s aides and confidants, who have flagged news coverage for him of Republican politicians either openly criticizing his conduct or else trying to distance themselves from a looming possible electoral bloodbath.”

“According to one of the sources with direct knowledge, the president is already contemplating retribution.”

Politico: “Trump’s actions, and the endless partisan battles over the Russia probe and impeachment, have left the intelligence community bruised and battered. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s advisers and allies in Congress are already thinking about what a heavy lift it will be to restore morale inside the agencies, legitimacy on Capitol Hill and public trust in the intelligence community’s leadership should Biden defeat Trump in November.”

Washington Post: “Birx recently confronted Vice President Pence, who chairs the task force, about the acrimony… Birx, whose profile and influence has eroded considerably since Atlas’s arrival, told Pence’s office that she does not trust Atlas, does not believe he is giving Trump sound advice and wants him removed from the task force.”

“Pence did not take sides, but rather told Atlas and Birx to bring data bolstering their perspectives to the task force and to work out their disagreements themselves.”

“The result has been a U.S. response increasingly plagued by distrust, infighting and lethargy, just as experts predict coronavirus cases could surge this winter and deaths could reach 400,000 by year’s end.”

“A top White House official recently traveled to Damascus for secret talks with the Assad regime, marking the first time such a high-level U.S. official has met in Syria with the isolated government in more than a decade,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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